Erdoğan says he asked Trump to pay first foreign visit to Turkey

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said he told US President-elect Donald Trump that he would be pleased if Trump were to pay one of his foreign visits to Turkey as the new president of the United States.

Speaking to a group of reporters on his way back from a visit to Belarus on Friday, Erdoğan said he talked to Trump on the phone after the election last Tuesday and told him he would be very pleased to meet with Trump as soon as possible.

“I told him I would be very pleased if he pays one his first foreign visits to Turkey,” said Erdoğan, adding that Trump welcomed his proposal.

The Turkish president also slammed those who present him as an opponent of Trump, saying that their attitude is troubling.

Erdoğan had criticized Trump’s candidacy following his suggestion of banning the entry of Muslims to the United States and shutting down mosques in the country, saying: “This is America. Now one of the candidates is slamming Muslims. Mr.[Barack] Obama had taken sides in favor of Muslims, but [Trump] cannot tolerate the presence of Muslims in the United States.”

In reference to a shopping mall in İstanbul that uses the Trump trademark in its name, Erdoğan had called on its Turkish owner, the same company that owns the Doğan Media Group, to remove the Trump name in June 2016. Erdoğan had participated in the opening ceremony of the Trump Towers Mall, but after Trump’s Islamophobic remarks, Erdoğan admitted that he had made a mistake by opening the mall himself.

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